This is thrilling and authentic family adventure which combines biking, canoeing, forest and mountain trails, with camping and eco-lodges. A truly off the beaten track journey – great for active families with older children.
Madagascar is a one-off; there is no other place like it. Its landscapes, animals and plants are simply extraordinary! Near the equator with an astonishing array of habitats, ranging from rainforests to deserts and from mountain tops to mangrove swamps, it is one of the most important countries for biodiversity on the planet. The tropical climate is a perfect host to the process of nature and, like nowhere else, the variety and richness of life has flourished.
As part of our commitment to responsible travel and in conjunction with Woodstock.org we finance a tree nursery and orchard in Italavina – which is a long term reforestation project.
Day 1: Antananarivo
After arriving in Antananarivo (or Tana, as it is known by the locals) late pm, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
Day 2: Antsirabe (B,L,D)
After breakfast you will meet your guide and we will set out by car to Antsirabe, a tidy, well maintained town which combines the tranquility of a small European provincial town with the exuberance of traditional Malagasy buildings. The journey takes approx. 3+ hours on a good, windy road, and along the way you can choose to stop off and visit Ambatolampy (the biggest town between Tana and Antisirabe) where we may get the chance to see craftsmen building aluminium pots amongst other things. Alternatively, if time allows, you can also visit lake Tritriva (2hr round trip) – a stunning lake of volcanic origin with blue/green waters, surrounded by beautiful scenery – we can walk around the lake in approx. 1 hour and during this time we will likely meet many local Malagasy people. Where we will stop and what you will do today will depend on your preferences. Upon arrival at Antisirabe you could visit the stone cutting workshop where they cut crystals.
Day 3: Lake Tritriva and Lake Andraikiba & Cycling back to Antsirabet (B,L,D)
Today we will head by car to Anraikiba Lake. This reservoir provides the
drinking water for Antsirabe. We will visit the lake and see the rice fields,
fruit and vegetable plantations. We then head on, as we reach the village
of Belazoo we will be able to see Mount Tritriva and we continue on to
reach another, more spectacular lake – Lake Tritriva.
Day 4: Ranomafana National Park (B,L,D)
This morning we will set off for Ranomafana National Park.
Ranomafana is particularly rich and beautiful, a mountainous
subtropical park which contains lowland moist forest, cloud
forest and high plateau forest and is the home to a large number
of lemur species (13 in total), as well as 118 birds and more than
70 amphibians and reptiles so is really a great place to see some
of the unique species living in Madagascar. Lemurs include the
brown lemur, golden bamboo lemur and the exceptionally rare
greater bamboo lemur which is relatively easy to see in
Ranomafana. Wildlife viewing is good all year round but is most
productive from mid-Sept to May.
We will stay just outside Ranomafana (just 10 minutes from the park entrance).
Day 5: Discovering Ranomafana National Park + Hot Springs (B,L,D)
Today you have the opportunity to explore the enchanting Ranomafana National Park through lush rainforest and search for lemurs along some of the many easy mountainous tracks. There will be plenty of opportunities to see lemurs and much of the other wildlife first hand, as well as to enjoy the stunning cascades and waterfalls.
This afternoon you have the option of visiting the thermal baths in Ranomafana or looking around the village which offers the most superb scenery.
Day 6: Rafting the Namorana River + journey towards Ambalavao (B,L,D)
This morning we will spend a couple of hours rafting on the Namorana River inside the National Park. After we pull out, we will head to Ambalavao. If time allows, you should get a chance to visit the vibrant town of Ambalavao before heading to your accommodation and some time to relax.
Day 7: Begin thrilling descent of the Manantanana River in search of crocodiles!(B,L,D)
Today we arrive at the edge of the Mananatanana, in the village of Iarintsena. This village is actively involved in the development of rural tourism.
After preparing our boats, we board the kayak or raft for our new adventure.
The first crocodiles are waiting for you, only a few minutes after departure. Over the course of the day, you will see even more crocodiles, although you have to remain quiet and calm due of the timid nature of this elite predator, which is still hunted for its meat, skin and oil.
In the evening, we will set up our camp to face the mountain of “lying woman” that dominates the Antsakaviro reserve.
Day 8: Visit Antsakaviro Village + continue Manantanana River adventure (B,L,D)
The reserve is only 1 km from the camp and we will enjoy using the rays of the sunrise to guide us to the remains of this forest, which is set in gigantic puzzle blocks.
It is a great opportunity to encourage local people to protect the natural heritage of their land and is also a beautiful walk in the shadow of the impressive mountainside of Antsakaviro. On the way, we will discover many graves, including the impressive standing stones called the vatolahy, which means locally “the male stone”, and stand as a tribute to the tumultuous past of this region.
We will arrive back at camp at approximately 10:30 from here we paddle a short distance to our picnic area which is often visited by crocodiles. From here we only have a few more miles to the finish of our descent. We will arrive 400 meters away from where we met our car and driver, from which we will head back to Ambalavao.
Day 9: Experiencing wildlife at Anja Reserve and journeying to Tsaranoro Valley (B,L,D)
This morning we visit Anja Park, just a short drive from Ambalavao.
After visiting the reserve we will drive to our next destination – the Tsaranoro Valley (approx. 2 hrs away). This afternoon we can explore on a short trekking adventure or simply relax. Our accommodation here will be a traditional bungalow situated at the foot of Tsaranoro’s cliff.
Day 10: Exploring the remarkable natural beauty of Tsaranoro Valley (B,D)
We will spend these couple of days exploring this stunning area on foot and meeting all of the locals.
We will also have the chance to visit the base for our local agents reforestation effort (a passion which is shared (via wood-en-stock) by Pioneer Expeditions). Here we will have the opportunity to visit and see the reforestation effort for ourselves. Depending on the time of year we may also get to plant some young saplings.
Day 11: Journeying to Ifaty (B,L,D)
Today we head to Ifaty and the Indian Ocean.
Upon arrival in Ifaty, your driver and guide will leave you. Your time at the coast will be at your leisure.
Day 12: Discovering the surrounding fascinations of Ifaty (B,D)
Today at your leisure, experiencing what beautiful Ifaty and its surrounding areas have to offer. (We can easily extend your days on the beach if you prefer)
Day 13: Back to Antananarivo (B)
You will have a transfer to Tulear Airport, where you will catch the Air Madagascar flight from Tulear to Tana. We will meet you again at Tana airport and depending on your time of arrival, you can visit the handicraft market, before transferring to your hotel.
Day 14: End of Trip (B)
Transfer to airport in time for flight home. If you are on a flight which leaves early morning of day 16, you can opt to have a day use room &/or driver/guide for the day (not included).
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